Case Studies on Facilitating Systemic Change in Feed the Future: A Synthesis of Cases From Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, and Rwanda

  • Date Posted: November 14, 2016
  • Authors: Olaf Kula, Dan White, Charles Addo, MarketShare Associates
  • Organizations/Projects: ACDI/VOCA
  • Document Types: Case Study or Vignette
  • Donor Type: Non-US Government Agency

Feed the Future (FTF) is facilitating changes in core agricultural systems that contributes to more sustainable and scalable development objectives. This report, commissioned by USAID/BFS, summarizes the findings from research into four FTF projects, selected as illustrations of observable systemic change. The four projects are:  

FTF Senegal Naatal Mbay, which has introduced various alterations to the prevailing model for contract farming of paddy rice, including a price discovery process that reduced uncertainty that in turn unleashed widespread investment by financial institutions and processors into the more beneficial contract farming system, as well as an increase and improvement in the services to value chain actors, particularly agricultural machinery leasing.

FTF Zambia Production, Finance, and Improved Technology (PROFIT) Plus, which is in the early stages of introducing changes in the structure of the rural input supply system through new aggregation models and agents, improving smallholder access to input and extension services. Interestingly, this has taken place in the context of two years of heavy drought, shifting behaviors from those that are revenue-maximizing to those that are risk mitigating and resilience maximizing.

FTF Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Program (RDCP) II, which has introduced quality grades and standards into the dairy industry both through support for more formal policy-level changes as well as through firm-led behaviors and models that incentivize and reward for quality. Like Zambia, these changes are early in the systemic change process, but there are strong indications of imitation by other lead processors, independent replication, and that these behaviors and practices are beginning to become institutionalized and a ‘new normal’.

FTF Ghana Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) II, which has supported the emergence of a relatively new actor in commodity value chains, the outgrower business; this is changing the network structure of input and output systems in the target areas, increasing smallholder access to quality inputs, financing, and output markets

Building on the findings from the four case studies, as well of the broader body of literature on the topic of systemic change, this paper also posits a theory as it relates to how systemic changes occur, with a spotlight on innovation.